Category Archives: Community

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OCCF to Award $2.5 Million in College Scholarships

 If you have participated in little league, junior high or high school football, there might be a college scholarship waiting for you. If you are a band student, from a single-parent home, a swimmer or the first in your family to attend college, there could be scholarships for you too.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has scholarships for classical literature majors and Spanish majors, architecture majors, engineering majors and many more. In fact, the Community Foundation awards millions of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of Oklahoma students each year.

“We have the largest privately funded scholarship program in the state,” said Nancy B. Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “This spring, we will grant $2.5 million in scholarships to about 800 high school seniors who will attend colleges and universities across the state and around the country this fall.”

There are 200 scholarship opportunities available at www.occf.academicworks.com and the free application process is open now. Deadlines vary, depending on the scholarship and the first will be Feb. 1 with subsequent deadlines extending into the spring.

Established by many different benefactors, the scholarships target a variety of students with an array of social, geographical, and academic backgrounds. Not all the scholarships require the highest level of academic achievement. A GPA around 3.0 is good enough in many cases as long as students show they are well rounded and work hard.

Not every OCCF scholarship a high school senior might see is a perfect fit, but if they keep looking, they are likely to find one or two that were made just for them. The online application system even helps filter scholarships with criteria that matches the student. Some scholarships are worth $1,000 while many are worth $2,000, and they can range as high as $10,000 and $20,000. Last year, the average scholarship award was $3,100 per student.

“Last year was difficult for all of us,” Anthony said. “The coronavirus has discouraged college attendance across the country, but we all have hope for a better 2021 and, thanks to our many contributors, these scholarships will help students to move past the pandemic and get back to pursuing their dreams.”   

 Applications will be evaluated this spring and most scholarship winners will be notified by June.

OCCF Grants Support Nutrition, Healthy Living Among Seniors

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has awarded $214,000 in grants to support programs helping central Oklahoma senior citizens living independently this winter.

A pair of young hands reaches down to offer a caring touch to a pair of elderly hands.

Community Foundation donors have long since focused their charitable giving on serving the elderly population in central Oklahoma, and the Foundation has helped strengthen donor giving by establishing grant programs to financially support local churches, nonprofit service agencies and civic organizations that help seniors stay in their own homes.

With the vulnerability of the senior population continuing to increase in 2020, the Community Foundation feels it is now more important than ever to step up and help.

“This year has been challenging for most of us, but it has been particularly difficult for homebound seniors, who rely on services that provide access to health care, nutrition, recreation and interaction with others,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation president. “We are grateful for our donors, who give the resources to support essential care for the most vulnerable among us.”

Earlier this year, the Community Foundation’s 2020 Disaster Relief Fund awarded $80,000 in grants to organizations serving senior citizens. Grants include:

  • $20,000 to help the Metropolitan Better Living Center deliver food and other at-home services to the homes of elderly clients.
  • $35,000 to help Sunbeam Family Services work with senior citizens, especially those experiencing homelessness.
  • $25,000 to help Skyline Urban Ministry provide food and community support for seniors through a daily nutrition program.

The Community Foundation also provided $72,500 in special interest grants to support organizational services that are crucial for seniors to remain living in their own homes. The iFund Services for the Elderly grants include:

  • $15,000 to help Daily Living Centers provide transportation to seniors at the Jeltz Senior Center, a low-income senior housing complex.
  • $15,000 to help Oklahoma City Ballet offer its Golden Swans program, providing senior ballet and dance classes to help with balance, flexibility, and cognitive function.
  • $15,000 to help Rebuilding Together OKC purchase materials for building handicap access ramps.
  • $2,500 to help RIVERSPORT Foundation support a dragon boat league for seniors, providing physical exercise, socialization and rewarding experiences.
  • $20,000 to help The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Command purchase furniture and other household items for low-income seniors who live independently.
  • $5,000 to support Villages OKC provide its Porch Pals program, which delivers plants and flowers to seniors as well as conversation and interaction at a safe distance.

Through the Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City program, the Community Foundation granted $51,900 to 41 area churches and organizations that prepare and deliver warm meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes without assistance or prepare meals due to health limitations. In addition, Meals on Wheels of Norman and Edmond Mobile Meals each received $5,000 grants to support the elderly.

“Senior hunger has unfortunately been a major issue in Oklahoma County for years. The pandemic has made it even worse,” said Chris Lambert, director of Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City. “Since March, we’ve added nearly 700 seniors to Meals on Wheels, and our meal deliveries have doubled to more than 16,000 meals each month. The generosity shown by the Community Foundation helps us bring hope to so many who are cut off from their friends, their family, and neighbors.”